The much anticipated Public Procurement Bill, which could potentially create a significant market for local producers, will be re-introduced in parliament during the current session. The new Bill seeks to introduce a government procurement policy that offers outright preference for locally produced goods with the state being the single largest procurer in the country.
In the meantime, as the Ministry of Finance awaits the adoption of the Bill by parliament where it will eventually be promulgated to become an Act, it has already started developing draft instruments to enable the implementation of the new system.
Public procurement is regulated by the Tender Board of Namibia Act, which was adopted in 1996.
A Public Procurement Bill was tabled in parliament in 2013, but it was withdrawn to allow for more consultations.
The government, through the Ministry of Finance, introduced amendments to the Tender Board Act to ensure that public funds are used to procure goods and services from Namibian producers and suppliers as a matter of preference.
These amendments make provision in the government tender system for a percentage preference for local suppliers.
“Promotion of local enterprises through public procurement has always been a major concern to government and this is well visible in the new Bill. A whole part of the Bill, namely Part 11, provides for various types of preferences to boost the empowerment policies of the government. Section 86 provides for the implementation strategies for economic empowerment; Section 92 provides for national preferences, whereas Section 94 provides for exclusive preferences to local individuals, companies and entities,” explained Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein.
Speaking at a Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Swakopmund branch breakfast meeting on Friday morning, Schlettwein explained that economic empowerment policies would have three main objectives, namely, empowerment of local enterprises, empowerment of SMEs, and empowerment of previously disadvantaged persons, women and youths.
“The Bill also promotes the local sourcing of products. Another key objective of the new Bill is to promote sourcing of local products, industrialisation and local entrepreneurial development. I am confident that we are on the right track with our noble intentions under this Bill, and I am adamant that the finalisation and implementation of the Bill must be fast-tracked,” said Schlettwein.
In order to take advantage of the new legislation local companies have been advised to to invest in developing capacity to produce goods and services that will result in value for money for the government, consumers and beneficiaries.
Schlettwein has previously urged that it is important for local companies to be truly Namibian entities and that financial and employment benefits accrue to Namibians.
During the meeting Schlettwein also said that the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Bill is taking shape.
This Bill makes provision, amongst others, that the evaluation criteria for PPP engagements must include a preference for the protection or advancement of persons disadvantaged by unfair discrimination.
“I am also pleased to note that both the Public Procurement Bill and the PPP Bill will, when enacted, apply to all offices, ministries and agencies, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), regional councils, local authorities and any subsidiary body, with the exception of procurement of defence and security related goods, works and services,” noted Schlettwein.